A large, wild bird, the ostrich is well known for its being unable to fly. Yet even with this seeming limitation, the ostrich is a powerful animal.

Its legs are powerful enough to injure and even kill enemies who threaten them.

Here are some keywords closely associated with the ostrich:

  • Powerful
  • Can hide well
  • Grounded
  • Swiftness
  • Absorbs everything
  • Keen sense

There are those who view the ostrich as a simple and even dumb animal, but this would belie its true potential. This is probably a good thing for the ostrich, as it does avoid confrontation or threats. And yet when threatened, they are able to disable or even kill their enemies with a single kick from its powerful legs and sharp talons.

The ostrich then symbolizes a secret power as the one which does not flaunt its strength but chooses to be at peace with others. And also one which knows its capacities for greatness but only acts when needed.

Ostrich as a Totem Animal

The Ostrich may appear to us during times we need to take time and lie low. It does mean to run away and hide, but rather to assess the situation calmly and avoid trouble for now. Here are some of the meanings it depicts as a totem.

Self Protection and Avoidance

The ostrich does not truly bury its head in the sand when threatened. Rather, it assumes a posture close to the ground, becoming one with the earth and appearing like a rock from a distance. It shows us to be still for a while, not to speak or act out rashly. This teaches us to be calm when we need to protect ourselves during trouble, and let the trouble pass by us without much impact.

Wisdom and Being Grounded

It has wings but does not fly, and yet its long neck gazes to the heavens and stands tall among other animals in the earth. This duality symbolizes that the ostrich is a capable animal yet chooses to remain with both feet on the ground. While it is powerful, it is also humble and does not aspire to lofty heights. It teaches us to be the same, to not be boastful of our own achievements, but to know that we are still capable of being great.

Assimilation of Knowledge

In ancient texts, it was regarded that the Ostrich could eat and digest anything even rocks. In nature, it is true that the ostrich eats hard objects such as stones in order to aid in eats digestion. In the same way, it teaches us to assimilate and take in everything and use it to our advantage. Even hard objects which are hard to swallow shall teach us valuable lessons.

Ostrich in different culture

In early Biblical texts, the Ostrich was regarded as a cautionary tale, as one animal who leaves her eggs in the wild unprotected. While the Arabs viewed it with some uncertainty, as the Ostrich had peculiar dietary habits, including that of eating stones and rocks.

But in ancient Egypt, the Ostriches were regarded highly even as steeds. With royalty riding ostriches much like horses. Their feathers were associated with the goddess of truth and justice.

Association with Celestial Forces

The Ostrich is closely related with the goddess of truth and Justice, Maat, in ancient Egypt. The feathers of the Ostrich are connected with that of truth.

In Babylonian lore, the Ostrich is associated with Tiamat, a dark goddess who gave birth to other gods as well as created the world from her body. It is a symbolic representation of the cycle of life, or destruction and creation as well.

Ostriches in Alchemy

The purported ability of the ostriches to digest anything gave early alchemists the idea that the ostrich had a power stomach. Its ability to dissolve anything within its stomach was a highly regarded ability. This was much sought after as dissolution and acids were widely used in the transmutation process. A powerful acid capable of dissolving metals for later reconstitution was associated with the ostrich.

The Ostrich shows up as a Spiritual Guide when

  • You are in a dangerous situation.
  • You need strength to fend off an attack.
  • You need to learn many new things.
  • You are avoiding a stressful situation.
  • You feel a strong, defensive force.

Call on the Ostrich as a spiritual guide when

  • You would like to keep a low profile.
  • You would like to assimilate knowledge faster.
  • You would like to have more strength.
  • You would like to remain humble.
  • You need to learn more about self-protection.

By Florance Saul
Mar 27, 2013